Trash, noise, and misbehaving neighbors: Short-term rental woes in unincorporated LA County – NBC Southern California

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Piles of trash and loud noise at all hours of the night —  these are some of the things neighbors tell the NBC4 I-Team they have experienced because tourists are taking over their communities.  

And with no regulations on short-term rentals in unincorporated cities of Los Angeles County, they say they feel stuck.  

“Our street has become a de facto hotel because we’re dealing with a lot of short-term rentals, which is affecting pretty much the quality of life,” said Luz Loza, who has lived in the City Terrace neighborhood of East LA for three decades.  

Sonia Roman has lived in the same community for more than a decade. Both women shared their concerns about short-term rentals.  

“They party, they smoke. It’s just trash is being disposed in our containers,” Loza said.  

“Having these vacationers, tourists coming to these short-term rentals has really disrupted our weekdays. We can’t sleep because at all hours, they’re either partying or making noise,” Roman added.  

These two women live on different streets in this unincorporated area of Los Angeles County — one of many not regulated for short-term rentals.   

Meanwhile, several cities, like the neighboring City of Los Angeles, do have rules.   

Becca Ayala is with the nonprofit group Better Neighbors LA.  

“So, in the city of Los Angeles, they have what’s called the home-sharing ordinance, which was passed a few years ago. That ordinance requires a short-term rental host to be the primary resident of a short-term rental. It also places a registration requirement on hosts, as well. And there’s also an enforcement program that goes along with it to curb illegal short-term rental hosts,” Ayala said.  

Similar processes could be happening across Los Angeles County if an ordinance first proposed five years ago becomes a reality.  

Better Neighbors LA estimates short-term rentals in LA County have spiked by 56% since 2019. Attorney Nancy Hanna works with the organization.  

”That’s pretty much the chunk of time the supervisors have been weighing this option, and while they are not taking steps, we are seeing a significant increase,” Hanna said.  

Loza and Roman say there is another cost  

“I really am concerned of some of these investors buying multiple units in our communities. And so, that really takes away from long-term people that can create community by living longer with us. And so, yeah, it has a couple of risks if there’s no ordinance passed,” Roman said.  

Loza says she has counted up to seven short-term rentals on her street alone. She is pushing for the ordinance to pass and regulate the situation, not to get rid of the short-term rental option.  

“I really want the ordinance to pass to have someone on premises, because I do experience short-term rental to the right side of my house, but the host lives there. So whenever there’s an issue there, he comes to me or I go to him and say, hey, this is going on. We’ve never had any issues. We resolved everything,” Loza said.  

The NBC4 I-Team asked LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis – who represents the area where the two neighbors we spoke with live- why the ordinance has not passed.  

In a statement emailed to the I-Team, Supervisor Solis said:  

“As County Supervisor for the First District, representing the largest unincorporated population, I share the concerns of residents in the alarming growth of Short-Term Rentals, specifically over the last two years in the unincorporated East Los Angeles, Hacienda Heights, and Rowland Heights communities.  I am looking forward to the Short-Term Rental Ordinance in January 2024, which went through extensive analysis and outreach efforts with some delays caused during the pandemic.     

During my tenure with the Board of Supervisors representing the two million First District residents, I have prioritized and demonstrated my commitment and ability to deliver affordable housing and developed over 5,000 affordable housing units in my District, with most of these units either completed or substantially underway for completion within the next two years.  The County’s designated affordable and public housing, which is already limited in supply, should not be lessened in the interest of profits from property owners and developers.  This Short-Term Rentals Ordinance will allow for the efficient use and rental of primary residences without reducing the housing stock available for long-term occupancy.  It is a priority for the Board to strike a balance between the economic benefits of STRs and the impacts on neighborhoods and the quality of life for residents.    

This Ordinance will establish registration requirements, regulations, and fees for STRs in the County’s Unincorporated areas.  I am looking forward to the adoption of this Ordinance, which is going to be another critical tool in addressing our regional affordable housing crisis.”  

“By passing this ordinance for unincorporated LA County, there will be something that residents can turn to if they’re experiencing issues with short-term rentals surrounding them, and it will also help preserve long-term housing,” Ayala said.  

And, preserve this community, which the neighbors say, has given so much to them.  

“I’ve had great memories there because I lived there when I was very young, and I continue to have memories there with my grandson, with my sons, with my daughters,” Loza said.   

Supervisor Solis’ spokesperson says the ordinance is on the Board’s agenda for Feb. 13. If it moves forward, there is a required second reading after that.

The Supervisor added in a statement…”If the Board adopts the Ordinance, the effective date will be six months (180 days) after the Board’s final vote. After 180 days, all Short-Term Rentals hosts in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County will be required to submit a registration application and fee to the Treasurer and Tax Collector. During the 180 days of implementation of the new Short-Term Rentals program, the Treasurer and Tax Collector will initiate a third-party vendor contract to assist with the processing of registration applications, collection of the annual registration fee, and outreach to short-term rental hosts.   

For questions or comments about the County’s proposed Ordinance, the public may contact [email protected].”

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